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March 8, 10

NEWS / Missing UN-African Union soldiers make safe return thanks to local Darfurians

7 March 2010 – Two peacekeepers who were missing after an attack on an African Union-United Nations patrol in Darfur have made a safe return with the assistance of the local population, the joint mission reported today.

They were found suffering from dehydration but were listed as in stable condition after receiving appropriate medical attention, according to a news release issued by the mission, known as UNAMID.

The two were part of a patrol, which included UNAMID police and military observers, that was ambushed on Friday by unidentified armed men while on its way to Jebel Marra, the scene of recent clashes.

The members of the patrol and their vehicles, including three armoured personnel carriers (APCs), were seized and taken to an unknown location. The peacekeepers were released early Saturday morning along with the APCs, but all other vehicles and equipment were kept by the attackers.

“Two UNAMID soldiers were able to evade capture at the time of the ambush and escaped, trekking over long distances at night in the desert, attempting to return to their team site,” the mission said.

“They encountered locals who helped them find their way to a place from where they could contact their comrades.”

The two soldiers were then able to make contact with the UNAMID team site in Kass in South Darfur earlier today and provide information about their location, following which a search and rescue patrol was dispatched to retrieve them.

UNAMID expressed its gratitude to the local population “for the solidarity and assistance extended to its peacekeepers,” and reiterated its commitment to finding a lasting solution to the conflict in Darfur, where nearly seven years of fighting has killed at least 300,000 people and driven 2.7 million others from their homes.




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